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Poster: mrgr1ff Date: Feb 7, 2009 4:27pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: to our rfriend(s) in Australia

Hey video_cellar,

I really appreciate your posts. I am working on a thesis on representations of aboriginality. At the moment, my investigations are focused on the 1930s as its so important in mapping the shift from "absorption" to "assimilation."

"Uncivilised" was particularly useful since I'd seen "Jedda" but didn't realise that Chauvel had worked with this subject matter in the past. I have a few qs

1) Do you have access to any of the other films you mention in this list?

2) Do you have synopses of any of them? I am particularly interested in identifying films that represent aboriginal people?

3) Do you have any, or know of any ethnographic films from the period? Did Margaret Mead, or such, ever produce any ethnographic material on Australia? Short of going to the AIATSIS library or the Nla, is there any way of finding the availability of such material?

4) Do you have, or know how to obtain, Tracey Moffatt films on DVD. I'm sure these wouldn't be on CC licences but I would def. consider purchasing.

Cheers,

m

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Feb 8, 2009 6:54am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: to our rfriend(s) in Australia

Its great to know that this kind of work is being done.

To answer your questions.

1) I have access to most of the films that are marked as released on video or DVD at some stage.

2) Charles Chauvel's "Heritage", which is essentially a history of White Australia, also contains some representations of Aboriginals. Most of the feature films, even the rural dramas, are generally set in a world without Aboriginals. Indicative of the period. Its not really until the 1970s that representations of Aboriginal Australia came to mainstream cinema. Also of interest maybe "Kangaroo" its a Hollywood studio picture filmed in Australia.

3) Margeret Mead's film work focused mainly on Papua New Guinea and Samoa. As far as I know she never made any ethnographic films in Australia. I have heard that Robert Flaherty may have taken some film in Australia, but I can find no record of it (The NFSA only has Flaherty's drama's "Elephant Boy" and "Man of Aran". They don't even have "Nanook of the North".)
There is a long history of ethnographic film in Australia going right back to the early 1900s (NFSA has 45 seconds of Baldwin Spencer's film of Aboriginal dancing from 1904). However, alot of these films are unavailable due to the cultural sensitivity of the material they contain.
I have access to a compilation of two 1946 ethnographic films by Charles Mountford "Walkabout" and "Tjuranga" and a number of 1960s and 70s films by Roger Sandall ("Camels and the Pitjantjara", "Coniston muster scenes from a stockman's life" and "A Walbiri fire ceremony - Ngatjakula") and Ian Dunlop (almost the entire Yirrkala Film Project). I also have access to "Lousy Little Sixpence" the documentary film of an early 80s stolen generations oral history project. And I have some interesting 1930s newsreel footage from the early Australian TV documentary series "A Year to Remember".

4) Tracey Mofatt's films are fairly easily accessible. Most university libraries have them and they are available for purchase on video from Ronin Films.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-02-08 14:54:26